INDIA: Parsis recycle tonnes of flower offerings from Fire Temples
The ten days prior to the Parsi (Indian Zoroastrian) New Year are called ‘Muktad’. It is a period during which Zoroastrian families are engaged in intense prayer for the souls of their departed relatives. Special prayers are conducted in Fire Temples for individual souls for whom flowers are offered and displayed in vases.
Rather than wastefully disposing of these huge heaps of used flowers, the Zoroastrian Alliance for Religion and Conservation (ZARC) decided to make use of them by motivating the priests in change of Fire Temples to run vermiculture projects. They will provide valuable vermicompost to be used as manure to enhance the greenery in the land attached to the Fire Temple. The Zoroastrians realised they could recycle flower offerings made throughout the year in the same way.
This project started in August 2002, during Muktad, at the Vatcha Gandhi Agiary, and a similar project began at the Wadia Atash Behram in October. ZARC aims to promote this recycling project in all 47 existing Fire Temples in Mumbai, which has the highest concentration of Zoroastrians.
The water table in central India has lowered rapidly over the past few years. It is a matter of serious concern, particularly as the 2002 Monsoon was far below average. ZARC has made significant progress recharging ground water aquifers and storing rainwater collected from terraces of buildings and open lands. Valuable rainwater, which would otherwise drain into the sea, is thus stored for later use.